4700 South Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78745
Hours: Tue-Thu 11am-2pm, 5pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm
Written by: Rachel Sherinian
Hill’s Cafe serves up legendary comfort food with a heaping side of genuine Texas music and a slice of Austin history. The Goodnight family, descendants of Charlie Goodnight, Texas’s most famous rancher and inventor of the chuckwagon, originally opened Hill’s Cafe as a modest diner in 1947. It is still a South Austin landmark more than 60 years later.
The music is, particularly, Texas country. Bands are booked for Friday and Saturday nights, and an open mic night is hosted every Tuesday. A small indoor stage offers an intimate listening experience amidst the restaurant’s museum-like collection of photos and Austin memorabilia. The larger, outdoor stage is located on the patio under a canopy of oak trees, which provide naturally enhanced acoustics along with relief from the Texas sun.
The Goodnight family passed the venue’s name on to local legend, Bob Cole—former KVET radio host for 20 years, Austin’s “original” country station. The family still owns the building and their famous chicken fried steak remains a regular’s staple, but Bob, known as Barbecue Bob, now drives both the food and music presence at Hill’s Cafe. Plans to open a second location promise to deliver North Austinites their Hill’s Cafe fix, but as it stands, historic South Congress is still home to the one and only. So if you’re looking to order up a Lone Star, get some brisket in your belly, and sing along to Texas country originals like Pat Green, consider Hill’s Cafe as your go-to destination.